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2018 BIQU Magician Hands-On Review – A Little Wizard

Rating:

Picture of Matthew Mensley
by Matthew Mensley
Aug 10, 2018

Gaining traction in the budget conscious 3D printing community, the BIQU Magician is a feature-rich delta 3D printer. Check out our BIQU Magician hands-on review for our verdict on this bewitching machine.

As best as we can tell, the BIQU Magician has been available for better part of a year now, yet has remained relatively under the radar for those looking for an inexpensive and compact desktop 3D printer.

Great print quality, price and features let down by poor quality control and build materials.

Produced by BIQU, the brand name of Chinese company BIGTREETECH (which is based in Shenzhen — practically the tech capital of China), the Magician is a fully assembled delta 3D printer based on the Rostock RepRap design.

While it lacks a heated bed, the BIQU Magician does feature a rather unique flexible and removable PVP disk.

BIQU recently furnished All3DP with a model for review. Unfortunately for themselves, they shipped us what appears to be an older model featuring the company’s Mk8 extruder rather than the newer (and widely touted) Titan extruder. Since retailers still appear to be stocking and shipping these older units, we felt it worth publishing a review of this unit anyway.

We will update in due course once we’ve gotten our hands on the Titan version of the BIQU Magician.

1

BIQU Magician Review Design

Image of BIQU Magician Review: Design

As one would expect with a fully assembled 3D printer that’s plonked through the door by the postie, the BIQU Magician is robustly packaged machine. Coming in a branded cylindrical tube within a larger bog-standard cardboard box, we must confess to being a little disappointed in BIQU for not making it look like a magician’s top hat.

Missed trick, right there.

Inside the tube you find dense foam sheets securing the BIQU Magician in place. Beyond these, reams of seran wrap bonding the accessories and arms of the printer for secure shipping.

BIQU Magician

For a $200 delta 3D printer that toploads all of its hardware (the board, extruder, motors et al are stowed away in the printer’s top plate), the BIQU Magician stands as a surprisingly sturdy machine. There’s little to no wobble in operation, translating to clean and artifact-free prints.

With the exception of the metal rods and electronics, the entirety of the BIQU Magician’s frame is injection molded plastic. Unfortunately either this plastic is poor quality, or the frame of the printer is tightened beyond tolerance, since after just two days of printing huge cracks appeared in two of the “leg” supports.

BIQU Magician

Another notch against the Magician is that our review unit is missing the supposedly included spool holder — a pretty integral part of the getup when there is no obvious place to mount a 3D printed one.

Judging from the online chatter surrounding the printer, we should be grateful for such an error since it seems to be universally thought of as pretty bad.

Similarly, the accessories kit included with the BIQU Magician includes a full-size SD card containing corrupt slicing software we could not install, plus two SD to USB card adapters. Overall this hints at a sloppiness in quality control — a shame, given our overall liking for the printer and the prints it outputs.

2

BIQU Magician Review Unusual & Effective Bed Leveling

Image of BIQU Magician Review: Unusual & Effective Bed Leveling

If you’ve been reading up on the BIQU Magician, chances are you’re aware of the machine’s quirky solution for bed leveling.

Instead of integrating some kind of fixed probe, the BIQU Magician uses what appears to be a force sensitive resistor, which is affixed to the machine’s cold nozzle and connected to a port that piggybacks on the end effector.

Packaged as a separate accessory with the printer, you are provided with two sensors plus a handful of spare foam cushions for fixing it to the nozzle.

BIQU Magician

It’s an unusual approach to bed leveling that we haven’t seen before. And you know what, it just works.

Setting the BIQU Magician up necessitates running the bed leveling procedure and, save for the finicky connecting of the probe to the print head, the feature runs without a hitch.

Once secured on a cold nozzle (heating it up will melt the cushion that secures the sensor), and hitting level on the BIQU Magician’s touchscreen, and the print head descends for a four-point leveling sequence, touching three “corners” and the center of the bed before rising back up ready to print.

The thickness of the sensor itself looks to be an approximation to a sheet of paper, so the level should be in the ballpark of your typical manual leveling.

The BIQU Magician’s bed is static and doesn’t heat up, so there’s no reason to think you’ll need to re-level all that often, making the inconvenience (if you’d even call it that) of setting up the probe a once in a long while occurrence.

3

BIQU Magician Review Software Woes

Laudable bed-leveling aside, we’re jumping back to the QC side of things for the BIQU Magician. As mentioned above, the SD card provided with the printer contained several versions of BIQU’s customized version of Cura for slicing files.

So far, so normal — it’s standard practice for a 3D printer to come with some form of slicing software — except that the installation files provided with the BIQU Magician simply do not work.

Compound this with the lack of printer settings provided by BIQU for you to manually configure a slicer of your own choosing — the assumption being you are happily slicing with the privded software — and anyone completely new to 3D printing might be left with a rather elaborate looking paperweight.

Handily, this isn’t our first rodeo, so inputting the specs we know about the printer suffices for outputting perfectly printable files.

For your reference, we found creating a new profile in Cura 3.4.1 with the bed volume at 100 x 100 x 150mm and “Elliptic”, plus “Origin at center” checked works just fine for the BIQU Magician.

4

BIQU Magician Review A Lean, Almost Mean, PLA Printing Machine

Image of BIQU Magician Review: A Lean, Almost Mean, PLA Printing Machine

Some printers are focused for one thing — one material. The BIQU Magician is just such a machine. With no heated bed, you’re pretty much stuck to printing PLA.

BIQU Magician
“Dr. Brain Breaker”, via MyMiniFactory. Printed in Amolen Real Gold PLA and some generic PLA I found lying around the office.

Depending on how you look at it, limiting the printing to PLA alone could be seen as a concession. But with a removable bed system that grips PLA well (when coated with a very fine layer glue from the provided stick) it’s hard to argue with how well it all works.

BIQU Magician
“Warrior – D&D Miniature”, via Thingiverse. Printed in MatterHackers Pro Series Black PLA

Considering the sheer breadth of choice in PLA filaments these days, there’s next to no color or special finish off limits. If you only plan on printing decorative items, gifts and the like, and can tolerate the small build volume, then the BIQU Magician will likely serve you well.

BIQU Magician
“Another Creepy Hand”, via Thingiverse. Printed in Amolen White PLA.

With a stock nozzle of 0.4mm, the BIQU Magician can handle layers heights as fine as 0.05mm well.

We likey.

5

BIQU Magician Review Verdict

Image of BIQU Magician Review: Verdict

The BIQU Magician is an oddity of a 3D printer. Packing a competitively low price point and high-end features that are implemented differently from the competition, the expectation is likely to be of a printer that aims high and falls short.

But, after using the BIQU Magician for some dozens of printing hours now, we can confirm that this little machine packs a surprisingly mighty punch.

BIQU Magician

The removable bed and bed-leveling work like a charm, and for churning out small (really small — the print volume is tiny) PLA prints at fine layer heights, the BIQU Magician is a veritable wizard. It’s a joy to use, whizzing between prints, peeling the bed off and seeing first layers go down with nary a hint of a problem.

It’s unfortunate then, that apparent lapses in quality control and build quality mar what would otherwise have been a remarkable printer for its $200 price tag. It’s one thing to have a mini workhorse of a printer crank out respectable print after print, but another to legitimately wonder if the next print will see the thing disintegrate.

Two cracked leg mounts seem to be less than a coincidence, and given that our issues with the BIQU Magician likely came from different areas of the production and packing process, we suspect our test unit may not be a one-off and others will difference experiences from ours.

Bottom line? Yes, you’re limited to printing PLA, but for day-to-day trinkets and small gifts, the print quality is there to make the BIQU Magician a viable option.

If you can overlook the possibility of it shipping incomplete and cracking at the seams, that is.

6

BIQU Magician Review Specifications

Image of BIQU Magician Review: Specifications

Make: BIQU (Big Tree Technology)
Model: Magician
Technology: FDM
Frame: Delta
Year: 2018
Category: Desktop, budget, beginner
Print area: Φ100 x 150mm
Max. bed temp: n/a
Nozzle size: 0.4mm
Max. nozzle temp:
Max. Z-axis resolution: 100 microns
Z-axis accuracy: 0.1mm
X/Y-axis accuracy: 0.01mm
Max. print speed: 70mm/s
Max. travel speed:
Printable materials: PLA
3rd party material compatibility: Yes
Interface: 2.8 inch TFT touchscreen
Connectivity: SD card, USB
Boxed size: Φ316 x 450mm
Printer size: 220 x 250 x 420mm
Packaged weight: 9kg
Printer weight: 4kg
Power input: AC 100-240V
Features: Auto bed-leveling, Titan extruder (newer models), removable print bed, 32-bit mainboard

7

BIQU Magician Review Where to Buy

At the time of writing, you can pick up a BIQU Magician from many of the usual suspects for cheap 3D printers. Check out the links below if it has caught your interest.

License: The text of "2018 BIQU Magician Hands-On Review – A Little Wizard" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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